Having suffered a “Zumbo moment,” corporate giant ATK now seeks to redeem its image after its aggressive run at destroying all used military brass. Even though ATK was actively soliciting military installations to join its brass destruction program as recently as last Wednesday, ATK said in a fresh press release on Friday, “ATK fully supports the provision passed by Congress last year to ensure that demilitarized spent brass casings remain available for civilian use.”

Industry and gun culture insiders report that ATK head Mark DeYoung is one of us, a gun owner and sportsman. Great. However, to refurbish its image and get beyond this “Zumbo moment,” ATK will need to do more than simply post a statement announcing that it now fully supports a congressional ban on brass destruction enacted last year.

Two suggestions for ATK:

1) ATK could release a list of the military installations with which it has had Memoranda of Understanding to take and destroy fired brass, AND a list of the installations for which it has now canceled such MOUs; and

2) ATK could identify those employees responsible for both hatching and approving the ATK-sponsored program to destroy military brass, the people who approved pitching this program to military installations with the argument that allowing brass to be sold to the public somehow fosters domestic terrorism. Having identified those responsible, ATK could reassign those personnel to a commission-only job of hauling excess Lake City ammunition around the U.S. and selling that ammo to the public at shooting ranges and gun shows.

These two steps would go a long way towards reassuring the public that ATK is indeed a good corporate citizen and is actively complying with declared congressional intent.

Even if ATK is willing to go the extra mile to get beyond its “Zumbo moment,” that will still leave a pervasive problem in the U.S. military of non-compliance with the congressional prohibition of brass destruction. That problem will still need to be addressed, probably with further congressional action.

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association
author, Gun Laws of Montana